The Department of Labour has announced new minimum wages for South Africans who drive as a service – which will rise 7.1% with effect from 1 September 2016.
According to the department, for those who work as drivers, the maximum permissible number of hours per week is 45. Broken down into a working week of five days, that represents a maximum of nine hours per day.
Workers can work overtime and agree to work six day weeks, depending on the agreement they have with their employer.
For long-haul truck drivers, working more than 70 hours per week is not uncommon which has led to complaints within the industry of driver fatigue, which leads to accidents.
Research conducted by the Interdisciplinary Accident Research Centre in South Africa, revealed that driver fatigue is one of the main causes of truck crashes, with 41% of accidents being fatigue related.
The most recent statistics show that there are more than 320,000 registered trucks – heavy load vehicles GVM > 3500kg in South Africa.
Drivers are paid in accordance to what part of South Africa they are based:
|Area 1||Areas around Gauteng, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, and Cape Town|
|Area 2||Areas around Bloemfontein, East London, Kimberley, Klerksdorp, Pietermaritzburg, Somerset West, Stellenbosch and the Strand|
|Area 3||All other areas|
The monthly revised pay is as follows:
|Driver type||Area 1||Area 2||Area 3|
|Light motor vehicle||R3 458||R3 202||R2 899|
|Medium motor vehicle||R3 706||R3 424||R3 123|
|Heavy motor vehicle||R3 868||R3 569||R3 268|
The good news is that South Africa has a shortage of skilled drivers, according to Barloworld Transport CEO Neil Henderson.
He told BusinessDay towards the end of 2015 that the country needs approximately 15,000 new professional truck drivers every year, but is not able to recruit that many.
Poor wages, and long hours are often cited as the reason to avoid taking up the job of a long-haul driver.
Road Freight Association (RFA) technical and operations manager Gavin Kelly said: “Generally drivers are hard to come by as the hours are long or ‘nonstandard’ due to shifts, transit times, and product specific handling requirements of the times that other processes, like border clearance, mine operations, traffic congestion or retailers, may have. Risks related to crime are higher and there is greater exposure to traffic incidents.”